VU POLYTECHNIC SENIOR WOMEN’S PREVIEW: WYNDHAMVALE
By KEL ROWE
Sitting on top in Division 2 after 3 strong wins, ladder-leader Wyndhamvale has set the standard for their season — bringing a competitive brand of footy backed up by speed and skill. But behind the slick outfit that has taken the 2023 ladder by storm, lies the hard work and perseverance of three seasons prior.
The Falcons made an unassuming debut into the WRFL in the 2019 VU Polytechnic Senior Women’s competition, with the team finishing as wooden spooners, yet to crack the winners list. In 2021, following the pandemic-induced break, the team returned, refreshed, and with an almost completely new list. Though the season was cut short, the side showed improvement, winning two games, and jumping up a rung on the ladder.
That upwards trajectory has only increased, with the Falcons cracking finals in 2022 — winning 9 games across the season and finishing 4th on the ladder — a team best for the fledgling side.
In 2023, Wyndhamvale continue to fire, and co-captain Mariah Burton is looking forward to the growth that will bring. “The best experience comes directly from a game, so as the season goes on, I look forward to see how we adapt to the game style and improve our skills to suit our style of footy,” she says.
Burton joined the side in 2022, and had immediate impact; winning both her club and the league’s Best and Fairest, the latter by a clear 9 votes. Whilst the core playing group remains, this season she is excited about the fresh faces joining the side.
“We’ve had a lot of young players come through, some who have never played whilst others have some experience under the belt, so it’s been really nice having new talent and skills come into the group, each bringing their own strength to the team,” Burton notes.
“We’ve got a new player, Haley Moore, who is quick on her feet and has a great mark on her. Chloe Muus who has returned to the team this season a stronger player than before, she’s vital in the midfield and isn’t afraid of body-on-body contact.”
Another new face is Burton’s sister Rachael, who much like her sibling, is already proving to be a crucial spearhead for the team. With a decorated junior career and now con-currently listed as a VFLW player for Williamstown, the “newer” Burton brings a wealth of skill and experience to the Falcons.
Despite highlighting some of their star power, Burton is quick to reinforce the collective strength of her team, noting, “…we have an incredibly strong side, with each individual bringing so much to the field each game.”
When considering their opposition, Burton is keen to test the Falcon’s mettle against Spotswood, with the Wolves entering a side into the Division 2 late in the preseason. The potential matchup presents an opportunity to catch some highly contested footy — a challenge that Wyndhamvale is excited to meet head on.
“[We are] highly driven by our coach Craig, he knows what we are capable of and continues to push us to work hard, whilst still ensuring our love for the game is there,” said Burton, agreeing that the goal is to have fun on and off the field, no matter what the scoreboard reflects.
This week, catch the Falcons in action under lights on Friday night, when they take on Point Cook in Round 4 of the VU Polytechnic Senior Women’s Division 2 Competition.